102 Brister Hall
Phone - 901.678.2351
Fax - 901.678.0382
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Melvyn Harding brings over 25 years of experience working in TRiO/educational opportunity programs prior to his appointment at the University of Memphis. Harding’s leadership philosophy centers upon shared decision-making, developing collaborative partnerships, and transparency in communications among team members. He received both his B.S. in Legal Administration and M.A. in Political Science from Ball State University. A staunch advocate of student development, particularly for first-generation, low-income, and students with disabilities, Harding has dedicated his professional life to promoting access and leveling the educational playing field of opportunity for all students.
Dr. Sheron Davenport comes to Memphis by way of Jackson, TN. She is a three-time graduate of the University of Memphis where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Master of Science in Counseling, and Doctorate of Education in Higher Education. Prior to the current position of Assistant Director, Sheron worked as a TRIO Retention Specialist and as a Hearing Officer/Office Coordinator for Student Conduct at the University of Memphis. Her passion for helping people directed her to a position where she could be more proactive in steering students toward graduation.
Jeanett H. Ballentine
Retention Specialist (Classic)
Jeanett Ballentine is a personal advocate and was a first-generation student at the University of Memphis, earning both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees. Jeanett has been employed by the University of Memphis since the mid-1970s having served UofM as an Administrative Secretary, Senior Administrative secretary, and Administrative Associate. She learned firsthand that a caring attitude of college personnel is viewed as a strong retention force on campus. She cares, motivates, encourages, enlightens, mentors, and believes that if you believe it, you can achieve it!
Retention Specialist (Classic and STEM)
Jeanne Wiatr brings over 30 years of experience working in the field of education with 12 years specifically in post-secondary academic support programs. Prior to her Retention Specialist position at the University of Memphis, Jeanne worked as the Director of the Supplemental Instruction program at the University of Pittsburgh and as Study Skills and Reading Instructor at the College of DuPage near Chicago. Jeanne champions the development of inclusive educational communities that embrace diversity and enrich society. She received both her B.A. and M.A. from Roosevelt University and her Ed.D. from Walden University. As a Retention Specialist, she is excited about helping students problem-solve, advance through academic levels and achieve the milestone of graduation.
Retention Specialist (STEM)
Kamia Young is a native Memphian and first-generation student who received both her Bachelor of Arts in English and Master of Science in Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Memphis. She has spent 10 years working in higher education as a Financial Aid Counselor at the University of Memphis and an Academic Advisor at Ivy Tech Community College in Lafayette, Indiana. Moving back to her hometown, Kamia is excited to once again be working at the University of Memphis and will continue to strive to help students stay motivated to succeed while in college while preparing students to be successful and productive individuals after graduation.
Gladys Young comes to Memphis from Cape Girardeau, MO. She completed the Bachelor of Professional Studies from the University College through the Back on Track program at The University of Memphis. She believes in the empowerment of education. Prior to working with SSP, Gladys had previously worked at Southeast Missouri State University under Student Affairs providing educational services to the students. She thoroughly enjoys working with young adults and assisting others.
Retention Counselor (Classic)
Marcus Savage was born and raised in Memphis, TN. As a first-generation student, he earned both his Bachelor of Arts in English and Master of Science in Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Memphis. Prior to his role as a Retention Specialist at the University of Memphis, Marcus worked as a tutor, a teacher, and an advising and retention coordinator. In his current role, Marcus enjoys working with students to see the steady progression and develop genuine relationships with them. He enjoys motivating students, coaching them up, and supporting them along their journey toward graduation and beyond.
Heather Kenny brings a diverse array of experience to the TRIOs. With a background in communications, marketing, and brand building she has worked within a variety of healthcare and sports organizations. She received her B.A. in Communications from Fordham University in New York and her M.B.A. from Simmons College in Boston. In her role with the SSP Peer Mentor Program and the Summer Bridge Program, she hopes to help develop meaningful and impactful springboards from which to launch our students into a successful college career at the UofM.